Monday, November 12, 2012
Anna Maria's Needleworks Notebook
Do you know what cures a cold? A perfectly delightful new book and good reason to spend the weekend stitching away on the couch! Yes, that'll do it!
Well, I'm feeling better at least. My little girlie is sleeping off Monday in fervent hopes to be well enough for homeschool co-op tomorrow. We're nursing with tea and herbs. It's so, so quite at the moment, so let's chat about Anna Maria Horner's new book!
Anna Maria's Needleworks Notebook is (as I'm sure you expect) quite the visual treat. I've spent a few weeks just taking it all in, knowing a project would surely come to be. And soon. I'm glad I waited though, because taking on my first cross stitch project was just the sort of low-energy work I wanted this weekend. Needlework, tea and a cuddly quilt are the perfect get-well recipe for this mama.
So, in her book, Anna shares 4 needlework techniques divided into Grid Works and Free Works. Cross stitch and tapestry fall under grid works, since these arts use counted grid background fabrics and precise design charts. Under free works, she covers embroidery and crewel.
I was completely in the dark about tapestry, which is also referred to as "needlepoint". I guess this is the art I've seen the least. And, now that I look up materials, I see that it's also the most pricey! My favorite tapestry project in the book is the Star Crossed Love clutch. It's tapestry and embroidery with a touch of punk. All the texture in those tapestry stars makes me want to see this design in quilt form. Any takers?
Another favorite project is Letters Home, a crewel pillow glimpsed this September on Anna Maria's blog. The colors, the simplicity, the texture, the sentiment - it really has everything. I'm sure we'll be seeing these around.
Anna Maria Horner's version of cross stitch is refreshingly vibrant and modern. I'm really drawn to the large cross stitch scene she's working on the book's cover, but decided to start with something smaller to feel my way.
I chose a single tile from the Four Tiles Collection and set about hunting down floss. Many of the colors Anna used for this project are from her Radiant and Seafaring stranded floss collections. Unfortunately, I hadn't kept all the floss labeled, plus there were 5 or so colors recommended for this tile that were not from her collections. I studied the book to try to match colors as best as possible, and dove in.
Anna's overview of cross stitch had me nicely on my way in no time. Although it was intimidating at first, reading the design chart turned out to be no trouble.
I would say the trouble came in with the colors. I ended up pulling out whole sections after realizing that the colors I'd used hoping to match Anna's weren't really working for me. This is not to say that I didn't like Anna's choices. It's just that my "close" substitutions still changed colors. And, the resulting changes in tone and mood can really throw things off. After some trial and error I realized that it was better for me to just go with my own gut on colors, changing things were I would. Now I see why a cross stitch kit would be super enticing! With so many colors at work, the balance is a bit complex.
Oh, also, one should always mark floss cards with the color reference number. Duh, Rachel.
As of this morning, I'm declaring my little work complete. I've ended it here, looking more like a snowflake than a tile. I imagine working it into a journal cover someday. Wouldn't that be nice!
I received my copy of Anna Maria's Needleworks Notebook as a gift from Freespirit. And, since they're so good at sharing, I get to giveaway a copy of the book and two of Anna's floss collections to one lucky reader! For your chance to win, add your comment by noon (eastern time) Wednesday, November 14th.
And the winner is comment #150, Annabelle of Covering. I'll be in touch, you lucky thing!